Talent Circles

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Biggest Obstacle in HR & Recruiting: Fear of Failure

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

Working in HR and recruiting is interesting to say the least. It’s not a job that I knew I wanted for myself but once I fell into the role, I fell in love. The industry is filled with innovation, creative technology and comradely, but there are things hidden in the shadows.

More than most it seems we are afraid and adverse to failure. We fear it instead of embracing it. We hide our mistakes instead of learning from them. We think that failure makes us look soft or weak when not innovating, driving change or challenging the status quo makes us look business inept and feeble. Complacency is a death sentence. That is what is holding us back in HR and recruiting: failure and complacency. You have to be able to give yourself the ability to fail.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.” In HR and moreso in recruiting this quote speaks volumes to those who chase after a candidate, but aren’t successful at hiring them. The fear of failure for recruiters comes with the fact that a lot of their pay is tied to performance and the type of candidates that they bring in. Without being really good at their job it’s hard to be successful in the industry.

There are a few reasons why recruiters fail. Overcoming these challenges will allow a recruiter to be extremely successful in the field.

They don’t’ want to win badly enough
Recruiters are inherently sharks in their industry. The only reason a recruiter might fail or be afraid to fail is because they do not want it bad enough. Desire to be the best will always outperform natural talent. Just think of the classic tale of the tortoise and the hair.

They get too attached to candidates
This really doesn’t sound like a bad thing does it? Getting too attached to candidates will sidetrack a recruiter and might jeopardize their professional opinion on if a recruiter thinks the candidate fits in perfectly with a certain job. This can end up costing company’s thousands of dollars.

Loss of drive and ambition
Getting lackadaisical in their approach to recruiting is a big reason why they fail. Some people just fall out of love with their job and that’ll signal a red flag into why they’ve failed at recruiting the best talent for a company. The loss of drive and ambition is one of the top reasons people fail at their jobs.

Do you have a fear of failure? How have you overcome?

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s is the Chief Blogger & Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @jmillermerrell


  1. overcoming objections, obstacles and persevering is key. Success is doing something over and over again. If you have closed deals before you can keep closing them! Have no fear just keep smiling and dialing

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